Who Is Kelsie Dolin? 10 Things To Know About the ‘American Idol’ Contestant

Kelsie Dolin won over the hearts of millions on Sunday, March 6, when the 18-year-old’s American Idol audition aired on…


Lauren Jo Black

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March 9, 2022


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Kelsie Dolin; Photo by ABC, Eric McCandless

Kelsie Dolin won over the hearts of millions on Sunday, March 6, when the 18-year-old’s American Idol audition aired on ABC. 

The West Virginia native auditioned with covers of Kelly Clarkson’s “Piece By Piece” and Adele’s “When We Were Young,” which brought Idol judges Lionel Richie and Katy Perry to tears. Her performance also earned praise from Luke Bryan

Kelsie Dolin; Photo Courtesy of American Idol/ABC
Kelsie Dolin; Photo Courtesy of American Idol/ABC

“We are so emotional and we are so overcome because you’ve been sitting down in West Virginia and you have this pure beautiful voice,” Bryan gushed. “It’s never been challenged, it’s never been pushed. It’s just never been lifted up and loved on.”

“This is the only person I know that has walked in here and messed me up completely,” Richie said as Perry added, “You are very special. You’re worth it and I hope that you can trust us.”

Dolin earned a unanimous “yes” from all three Idol judges and advanced to Hollywood with a Golden Ticket. 

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Get to know more about the fan-favorite American Idol contestant below.  

Dolin’s Roots 

Kelsie Dolin grew up in Boone County, West Virginia but now resides in Raleigh, North Carolina. 

Raised By Her Grandparents

“My grandparents are like my parents,” Dolin explained. “I was almost 2, and my sister was born. And she was born addicted to opiates and all kinds of junk. So my grandparents took us before the state could.”

Her grandmother was also said to be her biggest supporter before she passed away in September 2021.

“Last September, my grandma passed away,” the contestant share in a clip with Idol producers. “She had a lot of heart problems and got COVID and couldn’t fight it off. Losing my grandma was very hard. I miss her very much. She was the kind of person to push me to do things. [She] tried to get me to sing in church a couple of times but I never did.”

Dolin Thinks Her Late Grandma Sent Signs That Led Her To Audition For Idol

“I was going online and [an advertisement for Idol] just kept popping up and my grandma passed last September. So, I just thought it was her kind of telling me to I don’t know, sign up for it,” Dolin explained to the Idol judges at the time of her audition. 

Kelsie Dolin; American Idol
Kelsie Dolin; American Idol

She Took Her First Flight For Her Idol Audition 

Before her audition, Dolin’s grandfather revealed that she was afraid to fly and had to overcome her fear of flying for her audition.

Kelsie Says Her Idol Audition Was “Life-Changing”

“Hey y’all!! So I just did A crazy, life changing thing…” she wrote on Instagram ahead of her appearance on Idol. ”I auditioned for season 20 of American Idol!” 


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A post shared by Kelsie Dolin (@officialkelsiedolin)

The West Virginia Native Has Aspirations To Perform At The Opry

“In 20 years, I want to perform at the Grand Ole Opry,” Dolin told Idol producers in a recent clip.  

She Considers Her Sister To Be Her Best Friend 

Following her audition, Dolin took to social media to thank everyone for their support and admitted, “I couldn’t have done any of it without my best friend, my #1, my sister…”

Kelsie Dolin; American Idol
Kelsie Dolin; American Idol

Uses TikTok To Showcase Her Vocals

Dolin often shares covers of different songs on her TikTok to allow fans to see her vocal range. She’s covered artists such as Reba McEntire, Lauren Daigle, Bruno Mars and more. Fans can follow her on TikTok HERE

She Loves Traveling & Animals

As she indicated to Luke Bryan during her Idol audition she likes to fish. Her social media also shows that she enjoys traveling and loves to spend quality time with her dog.

The Idol Judges’ Comments Shocked Her

“The feedback was kind of unbelievable,” Dolin admitted, before adding, “they didn’t say nothing bad, it was just I don’t know, there was a lot of compliments and I don’t get those very often. I hope Hollywood week goes good. I got the hard part over with. I already sang in front of them once.”

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Lauren Jo Black

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Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for Answers.com and her work being featured on Forbes.com. She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.